The K Zone

July 1, 2013

Royals Q&A: Will Ervin Santana be traded?

Here it is early July and not a single question about which Royal (or Royals) should be selected for the All-Star Game. We’ll have the answer on Saturday night, by the way.

The K Zone

Andy McCullough blogs about the Royals and baseball

Here it is early July and not a single question about which Royal (or Royals) should be selected for the All-Star Game.

We’ll have the answer on Saturday night, by the way.

Instead, our latest question-and-answer exchange from twitter is heavy on what moves the Royals might possibly make to solidify a club trying to reach postseason for the first time in 28 years.

Let’s get to it:

@cborgman: If @DannyDuffy805 continues to do well in rehab, does KC deal Santana? What could they get for him?

There were a lot of questions similar to this one, so let’s handle it up front. I don’t see the Royals trading Ervin Santana, who is a pending free agent, as long as they consider themselves to be in the postseason hunt.

Contenders rarely deal guys from their 25-man roster and almost never trade front-line pitchers. Santana has been as good as anyone the Royals have, and there’s no reason to think he could be easily replaced.

Now ... if the Royals fall out of contention? Yeah, the market could easily open on Santana. I doubt it would be a best-offer situation, though. The return will have to be better than the projected compensatory draft pick.

Technically, Danny Duffy is no longer in rehab. He was optioned June 25 to Class AAA Omaha. But, yes, he’s still working his way back from Tommy John surgery.

Duffy has been good the last two times out, and I’ve heard his velocity and the definition of his pitches are impressive. But command will likely take some time.

There’s also a workload question with Duffy, who got injured last year after throwing less than 30 innings.

My guess -- and that’s all it is -- is he’ll remain at Omaha through the end of its season but could get a September recall.

@devo1210: Ok, props to the Royals for giving Frenchy/Getz the boot, but when are they going to give Louis Coleman some love?

Well, Chris Getz is still around; he’s just not in the majors. As for Louis Coleman, he’s definitely deserves to be a promotion candidate with a 1.54 ERA in 22 games at Omaha.

Barring an injury, though, whose spot does he take? The issue is the same it’s been all year. The guys with options available are unlikely to be demoted. The guys without options aren’t likely to be released.

It puts Coleman in a tough spot. The same goes for lefty Everett Teaford, who has also pitched well at Omaha.

@nathanbeckrules: why is Noel Arguelles on the 40-man? He's been consistently awful for a couple seasons.

He’s signed through 2014, and power lefties are the last guys that clubs tend to give up on. But, yes, he hasn’t been good. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Royals jettison him in the off-season if they need a roster spot.

Before then? A lot less likely.

@Grant4MU: Is Hosmer fixed? And should George Brett get the credit?

Eric Hosmer is pulling the ball with authority on an increasing basis, which is what the Royals want. Even so, I don’t know anybody who believes he’s close to his ceiling.

His surge pretty much parallels the arrival of Brett and Pedro Grifol. It’s hard to believe that’s a coincidence.

@jbryanlarson: is there any chance that Herrera's move to start is more than just a chance to have him throw all pitches?

I’d really be surprised to see Kelvin Herrera moved out of the bullpen. The Royals believe the problem is a simple mechanical fix that he’s simply not implementing. The demotion was a message as much as anything.

The Royals want him fixed and back in the eighth inning. Their bullpen is far better with a Herrera in 2012 form.

@SWGangOf5: if your will baseball benefit from Immigration reform? It WILL be affected, but what benefits?

It’s not that I’m not interested...but one of us is in the wrong bar.

@jcoodepv: What is the status of John Lamb? Looks like he hasn't pitched in a few weeks

The Royals skipped him on a recent turn through the Hi-A Wilmington rotation. That’s not surprising. It happens all of the time.

Club officials continue to maintain the only goal this year for Lamb is to make it through the season with no medical setbacks. (I know others in the industry who believe Lamb should be making greater progress.)

The test will come next year. If he doesn’t reestablish himself in 2014 as a top prospect, then it will be almost impossible to argue something isn’t right.

@austin_92_hall: With the Royals only out 4.5 games from 1st and obviously a "buyer" who do you think they will go after?

I don’t know about it being obvious. Right now, the Royals might be better characterized as lookers rather than buyers. The situation should be much clearer in a couple of weeks.

@atdiff: important question: with the Francoeur being DFA, what happens to the Frenchy Quarter at The K? Replacing it with?

I don’t know? I got a few of these, though, so help us out, Royals. I know you read this.

@Scott0110: Has Moore finally played his last hand? Lose this hand (no playoffs) and he is gone after the season? If so, what's next?

There is nothing to suggest, in my dealings with the club, that general manager Dayton Moore is on a short leash. A year from now, if this club is still scuffling, that could change.

@Twisted_Jeff: What is Elliot Johnson's role now that Gio has been brought up?

Johnson reverts to the role the Royals envisioned when they acquired him from Tampa Bay: Utilityman. I see him getting a lot of late-inning duty as a defensive replacement and a pinch-runner.

@magriffin2: With the Royals finally giving up on Frenchy, what are the chances that Bruce Chen could be DFA soon as well?

That wouldn’t shock me. I don’t see anything imminent, but if the Royals find themselves squeezed for a roster spot...well, there are several guys who could handle Chen’s role as long reliever.

@_GregMaggard: is David Lough considered a rookie? I'd so, is he the first rookie to have 4 xbh in one game?

I can answer the first one: Yes. The second one would require some research.

@zrod10: does Anthony Seratelli get a call up if there's an injury?

I’d love to say yes. Seratelli is the type of underdog guy who pulls the heartstrings of lots of fans. He’s stayed with it and, probably, has already exceeded scouting expectations as a Triple-A utilityman.

The hard truth is it’s hard to see a sequence of events that would warrant him getting a call to the big leagues. (And I really hope I’m overlooking something or am, simply, wrong.)

Might the Royals give him a late-season promotion as a reward for services rendered? That sort of thing happens on occasion. It would be an immensely popular move among guys who have played with him.

@EvanFahrbach: what would be considered "contention" by the trade deadline? And does DM's "lies within" quote mean no moves no matter what?

There rarely exists a “no matter what” in terms of shaping any big-league roster, but I think it’s correct to assume the Royals believe the club they have in place is the group that must make a move in the standings.

That said, I think the Royals will look hard at making some sort of addition if they stay in contention. The odds that it will be a big move? No better than slim.

@kylecoffey11: What are the chances that, barring injury, this will be the 25-man for a while? I know Herrera and Smith could switch spots.

As suggested above, I do think this could be the club for a while.

If Kelvin Herrera returns -- i.e., rediscovers his mojo at Omaha -- I’m not sure it would be at the expense of Will Smith.

Club officials say Smith’s stuff ticked up across the board after he went to the bullpen. He might be here to stay.

@davidmhovey: Don't know if my favorite parks question earlier fits in with the "Royals" Q, but interested. Thought Minnesota was great.

It’s all personal preference, and there are very few any longer that fall into a less-than-favorite category. My top two are PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Safeco Field in Seattle.

@Shauncore: Gimme your Top 5 Royals prospects as of today.

We put together an extended list every October after consultation with numerous sources. But a quick thought off the top of my head and not counting the guys just drafted?

Right-handed pitcher Yordano Ventura, outfielder Bubba Starling, right-hander Kyle Zimmer, shortstop Raul Adalberto Mondesi and outfielder Jorge Bonifacio.

@randywatt: what do you think is going to happen to Francoeur?

I think he’ll clear waivers because it’s hard to imagine anyone taking the $3-plus million remaining on his contract.

He’ll then sign with a team that will pay a pro-rated share of the major-league minimum (probably about $250,000). The Royals will be on the hook for the rest.

To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to . Follow his updates at

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